Spring Break: A gathering of the first responders

As many as 120,000 visitors could be in town for Spring Break next weekend, according to Biloxi Police Chief John Miller, who this morning briefed first responders from communities surrounding Biloxi about the city’s Spring Break traffic plan and how it could impact their respective roadways.

Miller opened the hour-long meeting by announcing that social media interest has led him to believe between 100,000 to 120,000 visitors could be in town over the April 13-15 weekend, far more than the 70,000 estimated at Spring Break last year. The chief called the meeting to detail Biloxi’s plan – which involves limiting travel lanes on U.S. 90 and venting traffic to Interstate 10 at peak periods – and to answer any questions from neighboring agencies.

“There’s no doubt that this plan is going to impact roadways in Gulfport, Ocean Springs and D’Iberville,” Miller said, “so it was incumbent upon us to make sure the first-responders have a good understanding of the impact it could have on their communities.”

Miller explained that the traffic plan also has three phases of venting.

Said the chief: “First, when we see traffic is slowing to a crawl, we’ll close down the lefthand turn lanes. If that doesn’t help move things, then we’ll shut down all of the non-signalized roadways that lead north, and then, finally, if that doesn’t have the impact of moving traffic, we’ll shut down all intersections and move traffic east and west, either to I-110 or Cowan Road. That will be the full-impact venting, and it will be dictated by the conditions of the traffic. But I can say this: We do anticipate full venting having to occur, and it may occur multiple times. 

“We must remember: Our goal is to keep traffic moving, to avoid gridlock, to make sure emergency vehicles can respond to calls. The only thing we can do to accomplish that is to disperse traffic, to spread it out over a wider area. What I would encourage those attending spring break to do is park your car and walk along the boardwalk to enjoy the day and avoid the traffic. Parking will be provided at the Coliseum or at one of the privately-operated lots along the beachfront, they’ll have signs up.”
City Desk: Hear about the Spring Break briefing
Q&A: Spring Break and the traffic plan
B-Alert: Text SPBK to 888777 now


Kids fire academy registration now open

The Biloxi Fire Department is now taking applications for its fun and educational fire camp.

Registration for the Academy for Kids Camp is open weekdays at the Fire Department Station No. 1 in the Lopez Quave Public Safety Center, 170 Porter Ave., and is available to the first 40 registrants in each the beginner and advance camps.   

The academy – a free, five-day participatory camp for children ages 7 to 12 – will take place at Fire Station No. 1, and at the nearby West End Hose Company No. 3 Fire Museum, 1046 Howard Ave. The beginner academy will be from Monday, June 4 through Friday, June 8, and the advanced academy will be Monday, June 11 through Friday, June 15 from 8 a.m. to noon.

The sessions allow campers to learn life-safety skills in fire safety and first-aid through classroom activities, hands-on training and homework. They also are  introduced up close and personal to firefighters, the equipment they use, and the jobs they perform. Each day, snacks and a beverage will be provided to the children.
See more and download the registration forms


Summer playground registration dates announced

Summer is just around the corner and hundreds of youngster will be out for summer break. The City of Biloxi is preparing to fill their time with fun and creative activities through the Summer Playground and Enrichment Program.

Registration for the summer camp will be conducted on two main dates: Saturday, April 14 and Saturday, April 21. 

On April 14, registration will be open to Woolmarket residents for Woolmarket schools site and will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Woolmarket Elementary Gym, 12513 John Lee Rd.

Then on April 21, registration will be open to Biloxi residents for Biloxi school sites and facilities and will take place at the Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community Center, 2520 Pass Road.

The program is for children ages of 5 to 14, and, pending school board approval, camps will be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. with extended care or latch-key, from 3 to 6 p.m. Camps will begin Monday, June 4 and end on Friday, July 27.

If slots are available, late registration will be held Monday, April 16 through Friday, May 25 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hiller Park, 377 Hiller Drive.

Said Parks & Recreation Director Cheryl Bell: “This program is always a lot of fun for the campers and counselors, and it fills up fairly quickly.  So we are asking parents to be prepared and have the required information and payment ready.”
See the Woolmarket sites flyer
See the Biloxi sites flyer
See more about the camp


Meeting news and notes:  Ward 2 and coffee with the council

Ward 2 update: Councilmember Felix O. Gines will be addressing several on-going issues – including east Biloxi infrastructure work, the prospect of a neighborhood grocery store and deli on city-owned property at Caillavet and Division streets, and the status of the new Division Street Keesler gate – during a meeting this evening at 5:30 at the Dr. Frank G. Gruich Sr. Community Center, on Howard Avenue.

Coffee with the council:  The Biloxi Bay Area Chamber’s next Coffee Talk will be a chance to hear from members of the Biloxi City Council. The free continental breakfast, which is being sponsored by Seymour Engineering, takes place Wednesday, April 18 at 8 a.m. at Biloxi City Hall, 140 Lameuse St. RSVP to the Biloxi Bay Chamber at info@biloxibayareachamber.org or (228) 435-6149.